A’s father worked for Shell based overseas in Perth, Australia. The family had been based overseas in several different countries on a succession of temporary short term contracts but returned home each year to their UK base in Manchester. Shell’s Head Office referred the family to UKSO for guidance on A’s eligibility for Home/EU fees whilst studying at a UK university. However, it soon became apparent that A and his family needed help and guidance on the UCAS application process and advice on which were the best and most appropriate universities that he could get into.
A, was at a local school in Queensland. He was taking the QCE (Queensland Certificate of Education) at the end of Year 12 and intended to apply as an individual student for a Drama degree via UCAS. He was not sure what grades were required or how his qualifications would convert into the UK equivalent or the UCAS Tariff points. Degrees in Drama in the UK can vary greatly between highly academic, research based courses at the Russell Group universities to the more practical and vocational courses offered by many ‘new’ universities. There are also a number of Drama Schools and Colleges that specialise in Acting, Production and Set Design.
By the time the UCAS application was due to be submitted A had completed his schooling and had his final grades in the QCE as well as a Reference that was sent directly to him by his Headmaster. The Reference is a very important part of the UCAS application and needs to be uploaded online by the School and cannot be submitted by the student. The Reference should reflect and compliment the Personal Statement, which is written by the student, to show the student’s passion for the subject they intend to study and highlight both their suitability for the course and any challenges or problems they have had to overcome.
To summarise, the main issues that had to be addressed by the UKSO team were:
- Identifying suitable degree programmes and universities for A to consider
- Working out the equivalence of the QCE compared to the UK entry grades and ensuring that the qualifications were acceptable to the universities
- Guiding A to look at the course structures and modules in detail, along with the methods of teaching and assessment and graduate destinations, in order to work out a shortlist of institutions for the UCAS application
- Getting A to focus on identifying the skills and qualities necessary for his chosen degree and writing his Personal Statement
- Assisting his School, which had no previous knowledge of UK application requirements, with the UCAS process
How did we approach A’s UCAS application?
- We ‘met’ A and his parents online via a number of Skype sessions throughout the process in addition to providing step by step action plans and resources
- Looking at the match between his qualifications and his subject specialisation we spoke to the universities admissions departments to check his suitability
- We went through course and module details to discuss with A some ideas of how to get started on his Personal Statement
- We made some suggestions for pre-course reading material, drama productions and exhibitions and discussed his thoughts on these to enrich his Personal Statement
- As a registered UCAS centre UKSO were able to log in to the UCAS application and monitor his application
- The Reference was added to A’s UCAS application as written by his Headmaster. However, this did not give all the information preferred by the universities. After several months of working with A, we were able to liase with UCAS (and A’s five university choices) to ensure that this additional information was supplied in a second reference document.
- We supplied UCAS and the universities with our contact details so that they could follow up on any anomalies.
- We also advised the family on A’s eligibility for Home/EU fees including the necessary documentation to gather as evidence to support his application as a Home student
The outcome: Successful
A received five good offers as a Home/EU fee payer from all his university choices. He also received full funding for his fees from Student Loans Company. He is confident in his approach and is looking forward to attending his Drama degree course in September 2017.